Like the Men called Lossoth, the Umli are masters of the Far North. They live in the woods and highlands to the east of the Lossoth, in the bitterly cold regions of north-central Middle-earth. The Umli remain in these wilds year-round, residing in caves and braving the terrible frosts of the dark winter. Unlike Mannish folk, they can withstand the coolest temperatures and thrive in the icy gales that sweep southward off the Encircling Sea. The Umli range far out across the realms others call wastes, and they subsist by hunting, fishing, and gathering. They are unparalled foragers. Subsisting on edible plants that others might never even see, the Umli utilize virtually every gift offered by the land.
The Nature of the Umli
The origin of the Umli is somewhat confused. They are known as Half-dwarves and descend from a union of Men and Dwarves that took place soon after the awakening of Au les Folk during the late First Age. This co-mingling of blood occurred as a result of a curse on the valiant wife of Cintapher of Hildorien. Her name was Sinuphel. Her twin offspring, Ucin and Ulaphel, were the first Umli, and the ignorant Men of Hildorien believed them to be malformed monstrosities.
Ostracized by the superstitious Secondborn, Sinuphel fled northward with her diminutive children and settled in what later became known as Urd. There, she raised Ucin and Ulaphel until she was slain by the Cold-drake Lamthanc. By that time the twins had reached the age of fourteen and proved strong enough to survive on their own. Ucin drove Lamthanc northward into the iron Mountains and took the Worm’s lair for his own home.
Neither Ucin nor Ulaphel could break the curse inherited from their mother. Ucin later wed a Dwarf-maiden, while his sister Ulaphel subsequently married a Lossadan hunter. Their children in turn married, and so began the race called the Umli. These Half-dwarves never really flourished and always remained few in number. Despite their longevity (Umli live 100 – 200 years), they rarely produced children and never threatened the Myr and Urdar who later settled in the nearby forests.
Stocky and only four to five feet in height, Umli resemble the Naugrim. They are strong, compact and have ruddy skin, thick brows, penetrating blue eyes, and red hair. Males keep their hair long and always have flowing beards. Just like the Dwarves, the Umli care for their relatively straight locks and keep them trim or braided.
Still, the Umli can be distinguished from their Dwarven kin because they are larger and have less trimeated limbs. In addition, while Dwarves employ elaborately-decorated armor and often adorn themselves with brightly-colored hoods, hats, scarves, or capes, Half-dwarves invariably appear rather drab. The Umli are pragmatic folk. They shun ostentatious displays of color and cherish utilitarian things.
In keeping with their homeland, Umli wear fur-lined coats over thick shirts and pants. Their heavy boots, mittens, and large hoods keep the cold off their extremities, for it is the wind — not the temperature — that bothers Half-dwarves. Protected from the gales, Umli are capable of roaming the ice plains even during the worst of nocturnal winter storms.
All of the Umli are semi-nomadic hunters and gatherers. For some, like the Ular-shi, fishing is their principal source of food. Others like the Dumalir prefer to hunt big game and rely on red meat for most of their diet. Moving along well-defined tracks between a network of comfortable delvings, the average Lat of Umli maintains over two dozen homesites. They remain in an area until they temporarily exhaust its resources. Then, they pack up their sledges and push on to a refreshed territory.
Each of their homesites serves as more than a mere shelter. Most contain mines and smithies, and at least one is utilized as a ceremonial site and a permanent repository of recorded knowledge. Another shelters burial pits, which enable the Umli return their dead to the sacred earth to which all Umli feel spiritually bound. The Lat’s Mahladôm adjoins the cavern that protects the tombs of the group’s dead. This carefully-hewn chamber is always shaped like a bell. Here, the Umli worship Eru, whom they call Odanal, as well as the Powers that serve him. As among the Naugrim, the Umli revere Aulë above all other Valar. They call the Smith “Mahlic,” as Mahal is known in the Umitic tongue, and pay tribute to him as their Patron, but do not recognize him as their Father.
Rituals play an exceptionally important part in daily Umli life. In order to survive in the dangerous North, among the presence of Dragons and other Morgothic legacies, the Umli have developed a rigid, patrilineal society. Grim, quiet, possessive, stubborn, persevering, and fierce, they are an unyielding and determined race. The Umli travel and hunt with the same hand their entire adult lives. (Wives live among the extended family of their husbands.) They marry only once, enduring a ceremony that lasts seven days and tests the male’s ability to survive and support his mate.
Even Umli friendships are formalized. After trading blood in a so-called “Bonding Ritual,” Umli acquaintances become friends by exchanging all their mobile possessions, save their clothing and one heirloom. They even trade secondary names. This exceptional act requires the two friends to commit to one another’s survival, to accept the fact that each is willing to die for the other.
Always active, the Umli sleep but three hours a day. The rest of the time they hunt, mine, engage in craft-work, or spin sagas that teach the young lessons about life and culture in Umli society.
The Five Umlati
There are fourteen Lati (groups) of the Umli. Each is aligned with one of five larger units called “Umlati,” occupying its own particular geographical and/or sociological niche. The following is a general breakdown on their social structures:
☨ Dialects of the Umitic language.
* Portions of the six Lats in Dir scarcely remain, though representatives exist now in eastern Sasir and southern Mulir. Dominated by the Úlair (Nazgûl) Hoarmûrath, Dír is now an uninviting land. Hoarmûrath’s minions have ruthlessly hunted the Umli.
Of the Five Umlat, only the Sashir ever succumbed to the strength of Morgoth. Terrorized by the demonic Lassaraukar (Q. “Demons of the Leaves”; Leaf-demons sing. Lassarauko”; “Lethryg”; sing. “Lathrog”), this highly unified Umlat followed the lead of their Shaman, Ikûs Hust, and swore allegiance to the Black Enemy near the end of the Elder Days. Their homeland in the forest of northwestern Urd became a dominion of Evil, and the Sashir warred on all their neighbors, including their brethren. While freed from bondage after the fall of Morgoth, they remain ostracized.
Umli Character Glossary
Lvl: 24. Race: Umli (Father of the Ushashir). Profession: Ranger. Home: The Valley of Ushashir in northwesternmost Urd. Aka: Dragon-warder; the Father of the Umli.
RM Stats: St-97; Qu-90; Em-42; In-92; Pr-68; Ag-97; Co-98; Me-74; Re-90; SD-98. MERP Stats: St-97; Ag-97; Co-98; Ig-82; It-92; Pr-68. Appearance: 27.
Skill Bonuses: Climb90; Swim105 Ride25; S&H85 ; Perc75; S&W40 ; Chan30; Amb8; LiI2; AMov25; ADef20; BDev16; Acro30; Act20; Cont25; Cook35; Dance40; Div35; FAid50; Med50; Mus20; Nav85; RMas30; Row5; Sail60; Sig40; Sing40; Star90; Track90; Trad35; Tumb30; Craf70; Dipl30.
Ucin was the son of the Bard Sinuphel of Hildorien. He was born during the late First Age. His father was Khazí, the youngest son of the Dwarf-king Drúin. Along with his twin sister Ulaphel, he was the first of the Umli.
Born in Hildorien at the round-house of Lord Cintapher, Ucin was removed to Urd in northern Middle-earth about three months after he was born. Ucin’s Hildo relatives were frightened by his uncomely appearance to them, he was hideously ugly), and believed that he was a monster. They had no idea, or concern for the fact, that his spirit was untainted.
Ucin was raised by his mother at a cave-home in the deep valley of Ushashir, not far from the icy waters of the Sea of Illuin. Both he and his sister were well-educated despite their exile. By the age of seven, he knew three languages and understood stars of the northern skies as well as any Elf. He became an excellent swimmer, an able waterman, and a cunning hunter. His precociousness enabled him to survive the premature demise of his beloved mentor and mother, Sinuphel.
When Ucin and Ulaphel were only fourteen, the great grey-white Cold-drake Lamthanc (Q. “Forked-tongue”) came out of the Iron Mountains in search of food and riches. After slaughtering many of the Avikangsdar tribes, he entered Urd, where he occupied a lair. His appetite was such that he ate most of the mammals that lived along the eastern coast of the Sea of Illuin, and his presence quickly threatened the nearby Lossoth (Snowmen). The brave Sinuphel, an ally of the Lossoth, confronted the creature, who nicked and then slew her. Lamthanc then ate the fallen Hildo Bard.
Ucin vowed revenge and awaited Lamthanc at a spot which was plentiful in Seals. The Drake struck there about a week later, and Ucin tracked the beast to its lair. In the ensuing struggle, the youthful Umli severely wounded the Drake with his mother’s harpoon. Lamthanc fled northward over the mountains and into Uab lands.
Ucin occupied Lamthanc’s lair. While unable to recover his mother’s body, he made his new home a shrine to Sinuphel’s memory. Twenty years later, he wed a Dwarf-maiden named Baís, daughter of the Dwarf-lord Bróin (of Drúin ’s Folk). This marriage was in keeping with the ancient Melkoric curse that afflicted all of Sinuphel’s line — that “Cintapher’s wife and all her heirs shall join in love against their law and produce half-folk who shall he shunned by Second born and Dwarf born alike.”
Together, Ucin and Baís had three children: Ucas, Urái, and Ulaphel IL These three offspring spawned the Ular-shi, Shasir, and Ushahir Umlati (respectively).
Ucin’s Principal Items (Ushahir Heirlooms)
- +40 Javelin of Dragon-slaying fashioned in Kael Ord in the Red Mountains during the late First Age.
- A +30 round shield made from the bone and hide of a Demon Whale. It is only +15 versus edged weapons.
- A +30 Knife of Seeking, which, once it strikes a creature, can be thrown up to 1000 feet without penalty or regard to intervening obstacles (assuming it can circumvent such obstacles) against the same creature. In such a case, the knife will return to the wielder in 1 – 2 rounds after being thrown. The knife will not work in this enchanted manner against a creature that it has not already struck in a natural manner (i.e., as a hand-held or typically-thrown fashion), nor will it work in this way against creatures other than the beast it last struck.
- A +5 Channeling spell adder made from the bone of an Ice-drake.
Ucin’s Special Abilities
- 24 PP. Base spell OB is 24; directed spell OB is 25. Ucin knows all the Base Ranger lists to 20th level and three Open Channeling lists to 10th level (MERP and RM).
Lvl: 22. Race: Umli (Mother of the Fosír-Tasír). Profession: Animist. Home: The Valley of Ushashasir in northwesternmost Urd. Aka: Word-keeper; the Mother of the Umli.
RM Stats: St-79; Qu-93; Em-59; In-99; Pr-78; Ag-98; Co-60; Me-95; Re-86; SD-50. MERP Stats: St-79; Ag-99; Co-60; Ig-90; It-99; Pr-78. Appearance: 29,
Skill Bonuses: Climb50; Swim45; Ride35; S&H130 ; Perc75; S&W55 ; Chan40; DirSp45; Amb2; Lil12; AMov25; ADef20; BDev9; Acro30; Act30; Cont25; Cook30; Dance45; Div30; FAid45; Herd30; LWork25; Math30; Med60; Mus30; Nav35; RMas25; Row30; Sail25; Sig40; Sing40; Star90; Subd35; Track70; Trad40; Tumb30; Craf65; Dipl35.
Uncaphel was the twin sister of Ucin, and the daughter of the Hildo Bard Sinuphel and the Dwarf-lord Khazí. She, like her twin brother, one of the first of the Umli or Half-dwarves.
Uncaphel bore a Hildo name, for she was born in Hildorien and was initially believed to be the offspring of Sinuphel’s husband, Lord Cintapher. Because Sinuphel had been cursed by Morgoth, however, she was the bastard child of a Mannish mother and a Dwarven father. So, during the initial weeks of her hard life, she and her brother were kept secluded. A nurse unveiled Uncaphel’s secret when she was only three months old.
Driven from Hildorien, Sinuphel took her children northward, where she encountered the mysterious Lossoth, or “Snowmen” (aka “Forodwaith” or “Northern Men”). She settled among the nomadic northerners and began the task of raising her banished offspring. Sinuphel looked upon her labors with care and love, and both her children grew to be strong and wise.
Uncaphel’s family lived in a cave-home in the deep valley of Ushashir, within sight of the Sea of Illuin. She was fascinated by nature, which was fortunate in such a harsh locale. Eventually she became a powerful Animist and, by the age of twelve, was already revered by her Lossadan neighbors.
Sinuphel was murdered by the grey-white Cold-drake Lamthanc when Uncaphel was only fourteen. Uncaphel’s brother Ucin exacted revenge and drove Lamthanc northward across the Iron Mountains, avenging his mother’s death. These tragic events destroyed Uncaphel’s family. The begrieved Ucin moved into Lamthanc’s lair, forever sundering his special bond with his sister. Although they remained friends, the two twins stayed apart, married, and fostered separate lines that would give birth to the Umli Umlati.
Uncaphel married a Lossadan hunter named Aluenda about ten years after Sinuphel’s demise. Their union produced two children — Ancanli and Unkûs — the mother and father of the Fosír-Tasír and the Dumalir (respectively).
Uncaphel’s Principal Items (Fosír-Tasír Heirlooms)
- +30 Stave of Ice-lore fashioned in Kael Ord in the Red Mountains during the late First Age. It strikes as a +30 Quarterstaff or a +5 Battle-axe and serves as a +5 Channeling spell adder. The wielder can cast any two spells off the Ice-lore spell list once a day (each).
- A +35 round shield made from the bone and hide of Lamthanc’s only offspring. It is only +20 versus edged weapons.
- A grey-white Bearskin cloak that adds +10 to any RR versus the weather or Channeling spells.
Uncaphel’s Special Abilities
- 44 PP. Base spell OB is 22; directed spell OB is 45, Uncaphel knows all the Base Animist lists to 20th level and two Open Channeling lists to 10th level (MERP and RM).
Lvl: 23. Race: Umli (of the Fosír-Tasír). Profession: Warrior/Fighter. Home: The Forest of Dír in northwestern Urd. Aka: Demon-slayer; Spear-thrower.
RM Stats: St-96; Qu-89; Em-45; In-76; Pr-88; Ag-96; Co-99; Me-77; Re-90; SD-100. MERP Stats: St-96; Ag-96; Co-99; Ig-84; It-76; Pr-88. Appearance: 68,
Skill Bonuses: Climb85; Swim100; Ride2O; S&H90 ; Perc70; Rune25; Chan10; Amb15; Li4; AMov30; ADef20; BDev15; Acro35; Act15; Cont30; Cook35; Dance45; Div35; FAid50; Med65; Mus20; Nav90; RMas30; Sig40; Sing55; Star80; Track90; Trad70; Tumb25; Craf65; Dipl75.
Ulas the Hairless was the proud, compassionate Lord of the Fosír-Tasír in Dír. He ruled the forest realm for two centuries around the end of the first millennia of the Third Age, imparting power and plenty to those around him, yet he was weak in arms and possessed no strongholds. The only protection he could offer his followers was the dense, tree-laden landscape of Dír. Still, Ulas and his Umli warriors broke the minions of their enemy, the Ringwraith Hoarmûrath, three times in T.A. 1051, forcing the Úlair to undertake a long and very hard siege.
Hoarmûrath preferred not to wait, however, for he had only recently reentered Endor after a long slumber. While time was on the side of Darkness, the Ringwraith felt the pangs of impatience and realized that Sauron wanted the campaign resolved quickly. Thus, Hoarmûrath enlisted the aid of the awful Lussaraukar. He awakened the Leaf-demons during the winter of T.A. 1051 – 1052, and the creatures struck the Umli the following spring. Ulas recorded the attack in his journal:
“They came as sixty, led by one standing some ten feet in height. And they were cruel beyond hate. Utter evil impelled them, and death flowed in them woke, as their cool green coats blended among the boughs the great trees. Few occur’ people fled; all them died.
The Leaf-demons, they were the instrument that slew my land altogether, sparing no one. In three days, my army, a host that so proudly stood fast for nine long months cried their last calls of freedom. The silent, swift ‘Wind in the Trees’ that shook grown warriors like a gale from the mouth of Óla passed, leaving nothing but a blood-stained wood, and the disemboweled corpses of heroes whose deeds are too many to be recorded yet too grand to be forgotten.”
The victim of a Leaf-demon’s sharp missile, Ulas supposedly died soon after inscribing this entry. His son and daughter perished earlier along with their mother and their protector/companion, the mighty North-bear named Olvûsi. Hoarmûrath’s Urd warriors arrived only a day later, but they found no trace of the Umli-lord’s body. Some say he lived to wage a never-ending war against the Úlair who dared call himself the North King. Others say he was eaten by the pitiless and ever-hungry Lassaraukar.
Ulas Tost’s Principal Items
- +35 Spear of Wolf-slaying fashioned in Kael Ord in the Red Mountains during the early Second Age.
- A +25 oval Ithilnaur Warder’s Shield, bears a Sudden Light symbol on the front, permitting the wearer to command the shield (3x/day) to glow with a blazing light causing all within 14’ diameter (who are gazing in the direction of the shield) to make a RR versus Essence. RR failure results in victim being stunned for 1 rd/10 RR failure (e.g., RR failure of 26 = victim stunned 3 rds),
- A +20 Axe of Bear — slaying that also serves as a +20 Ice-axe, it was fashioned in Desdursyton. A series of ivory bear inlays adorns the silvery shaft.
- These +25 fur boots are light grey and fitted with pairs of retractable steel blades. They enable the wearer to skate (+25 to all Skating maneuvers) after 1 round’s preparation. Alternatively, the blades can be fitted for use as crampons (+25 to Ice-climbing) and/or as weapons (a kick striking as a +10 Hand-axe).
- +15 Cape of Protection. Water — and windproof, it provides wearer with +15 RR and AT bonus.
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